One killed as BJP’s march in Siliguri turns violent

BJP State President Dilip Ghosh, who was present at the march, claimed that the police used force on a democratic movement. | File   | Photo Credit: PTI

A BJP worker died in the violence that erupted on Monday during a march of the party to the State Secretariat building at Siliguri in north Bengal. 

The deceased, Ullen Ray (50), a member of the Rajbanshi community and resident of Gazaldoba in Jalpaiguri district, had multiple “pellet injuries” and was brought to hospital in a gasping condition, doctors said. 

The State BJP leadership has called a 12- hour bandh in north Bengal to protest against the death and ‘attacks’ on party supporters by the police. 

“Ulen Ray, an innocent Rajbongshi protestor who came to protest the deprivation , corruption , political violence in north Bengal during the #UttarkanyaCholo abhiyan, was murdered in police firing today. His sacrifice won’t go in vain”, State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said. 

Mr. Ghosh, who visited the hospital where injured BJP supporters were taken, said that about 50 party supporters, including some women, were injured in the violence. 

For hours, Teen Batti More of the city became a battle zone for BJP supporters and police. BJP members breached barricades and marched to Uttar Kanya building and police used water cannons to disperse them. This was followed by a baton charge and firing of tear gas shells. BJP supporters pelted stones at the police and at various places, set fire to police barricades. Several BJP members were also injured in the clash and many were taken in custody. There were reports of injury to some police personnel. 

We showed restraint: police 

According to the police, serious acts of violence were committed at Siliguri. the police personnel showed restraint and there was no use of firearms. 

“Today in Siliguri, serious acts of violence were committed by the supporters of a political party during their protest program. They resorted to arson, brick-batting, firing and vandalism of govt property,” the West Bengal police tweeted from their official handle. The cause of the death of one person (Ullen Roy) will be known after the post-mortem. “Police showed restraint and didn’t do lathi charge or used fire arms. Only water cannons and tear gas were used to disperse the violent crowd”, the police added. 

The march was organised by the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), and senior BJP leaders, including Mr. Ghosh and Kailash Vijayvargiya, were present. Both led processions from different areas and they were stopped at Fulbari More. BJYM president Tejasvi Surya, Darjeeling MP Raju Bista and Cooch Behar MP Nisith Pramanik were present at the protest venue.

Mr Vijayvargiya said the party had announced the movement well in advance and there was a deliberate attempt by the police to crush the movement. 

BJP team meets Governor 

Later in the day, a BJP delegation met Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and informed him about the violence and the death of the party worker. 

Trinamool Congress leader and Minister Gautam Deb said the protests were far from a democratic movement and what happened was most unfortunate.

Similar scenes of violence were witnessed on October 8 during the BJP’s march to the State Secretariat (Nabanna Building) in Kolkata, about 600km from Siliguri. 

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Printable version | Apr 11, 2021 10:48:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/bjp-march-in-siliguri-turns-violent-1-killed-says-party/article33270583.ece

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